Search Lost IS (Rank) Explained

November 05, 2019

As a search marketer, you have more than likely come across a metric in Google Ads called search lost IS (rank). This is the search impression share lost due to Ad Rank, or the percentage of time your ad was not shown to Google searches that matched your keywords. You may wonder, “How is this metric calculated for my campaigns?”. In this blog we will explain how search lost IS (rank) is calculated by Google and ways you can improve your Ad Rank.

What is Ad Rank?

To begin, we need to understand what Ad Rank is. Ad Rank is a score that determines your ad position relative to other ads. According to Google the rank is calculated using a combination of the following:

  • Your bid
  • Ad quality including relevance of ad to search terms, landing page experience, expected clickthrough rate
  • Ad Rank thresholds, which is the minimum bid for your ads to show
  • The context of the search query – this includes the search terms in the query, the user location, time, device, and other search results that appear on the search page
  • Impact of ad extensions and ad format – including more useful information about your business such as sitelinks, phone number and location can help improve the impact of your ad

How do I find the search lost IS (rank) for my campaigns?

Reports in the Google Ads interface will show you your search lost IS (rank) based on various components such as campaign, ad group, keyword, and audiences. If you do not see this metric in the Google Ads interface, you will need to modify the columns in your report to include search lost (IS) rank:

You can find search lost IS (rank) in the competitive metrics option:

If you decide to add search lost IS (rank) to your reports, we’d also advise adding metrics such as search impression share and search lost IS (budget) to your report. The search impression share indicates your impression share and the search lost IS (budget) indicates the impression share lost due to budget. These metrics will give you a better sense of how strong your impression share is in the ad auction and what portion of your impression share can be improved by adding more budget. Note that your search impression share combined with your search lost IS (rank) and search lost IS (budget) will  add up to 100%.

How do I reduce my search lost IS (rank)?

Reducing your search lost IS (rank) means improving your Ad Rank score. We’ve summarized a few tips that can help you increase your Ad Rank so that your ads can have a higher ad position:

  • Increase ad relevance to your keywords by including relevant keywords in your ad copy
  • Use landing pages that contain targeted keywords on the landing page
  • Increase bids to help your ads stay competitive in the bid auction and to ensure your bids are above the Ad Rank thresholds
  • Include sitelinks, callouts, call and location extensions in your ads to help improve your ad quality

You now have the knowledge to lower your search impression share lost to ad rank. Use these steps to improve your ad rank and increase your search impression share on your Google Ads campaigns!